1932 Joe Sewell Signed New York Yankees Contract

Sold For: $11,258

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 748

Item Year: 1932

Category: Baseball Contracts

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Four-page fold-over contract, dated April 5, 1932, between Joe Sewell and the American League Baseball Club of New York, signed in black fountain pen by "Joe Sewell" (grading "7/8," a drop of ink from Ruppert's signature touches upon Sewell's) and "Jacob Ruppert" as president (very bold, but with some smearing of the ink, "9" overall; Ruppert's signature here is secretarial and has been done by general manager Ed Barrow, which was a common practice at the time). Also signed on the front in black ink by Will Harridge ("9") as American League President. The one-year contract, for the 1932 season, calls for Sewell to receive a salary of $8,000. This was Sewell's penultimate player's contract, as he retired after the 1933 season. Sewell batted .272 with a career-high 11 home runs and 68 RBI in 1932 to help lead the club to its first pennant in four years. Sewell also batted .333 in the club's four-game sweep of the Cubs in the World Series. While Sewell's .312 lifetime average in fourteen seasons is testament to his hitting prowess, it does not tell the whole story. Joe Sewell was the best contact hitter in baseball history. In 7,132 at bats Sewell only struck out 114 times. To put that feat in perspective, one only has to note that since the time of his retirement well over 500 players have struck out more than 114 times in a single season! Sewell's ratio of one strikeout for every 62.6 at bats is by far the best ever achieved, with Paul Waner's ratio of 44.9 a distant second. In 1932, the year of his contract, Sewell only struck out three times in 503 at bats. 1932 also marked the year of his first and only World Championship season. Sewell was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1977. 104 of Hall of Fame players are rare and the offered example is no exception. This is the first Sewell contract we have ever offered. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds and is in Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $500+. SOLD FOR $11,258

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